I decided to create an infographic for my capstone. If you click on the image, you will be taken to the Piktochart site where you can view it with the embedded video too. And if you click on the presentation mode button it looks even better!
Infographics are really useful tools that I can see using frequently in my blended class. They are a great way to present information in an easy to follow, easy to understand format. I foresee using these alongside videos, and perhaps even replacing many of my slideshows with these. They are time consuming to create, but I think they are worth the extra effort. I can also see having my students create infographics for projects to assess their understanding and their ability to make connections between current units of study and previous concepts.
Edited Image Using Picasa
|| After (cropping, warmifying, cross processing, and adding text, all with a few mouse clicks!):
I have students use images when creating projects for the class, so I can have them find images on creative commons and edit them for their final products. I also use Picasa for creating end of the season cross country yearbooks. I get images from parents and then create collage pages for each of the meets with all of our athletes on them.
Slideshow using PhotoPeach
For some reason the embed code from PhotoPeach wouldn’t work on my blog, so here is a screenshot of what I made.
PhotoPeach is a neat tool that makes for a fun and more creative slide show. I think it would be a good tool to use to ask students to be a bit more creative. Instead of just writing and explaining their ideas in text, they have to use images to express their understanding. The music adds a nice touch too!
Shared Photo from Snapfish
Copyright and Creative Commons, Parts 1 & 2
I’m not sure I had too many misconceptions about copyright and fair use, but I was surprised to learn that it’s not fair use if I cite and author or an artist if I use their work for my students. However, I tend to only use other’s images or writing to enhance students’ understanding of a topic, not for entertainment purposes. That said, I now know that just giving credit to the owner of a work does not mean that it’s fair use.
I knew about Creative Commons before doing this module; I use it when looking for music when making videos for teaching and for finding images to put on my class website.
As for the quiz, I score 16/20. I got mixed up on a couple of questions regarding trademarks and patents vs. copyrights. There is so much law wrapped up around copyright that it’s kind of overwhelming. I’m sticking with the idea that I can use it if it’s for “transformative” purposes. I’m fairly certain that my students would not fair so well. In the age of Googling everything and having access to so much information, I think students figure that if they find something online (music, movies, games, images, etc.) it’s free to use however they want.
As for helping students learn about copyright, I will probably have my school librarian talk to my students for a few minutes before I have them work on their first project I assign, and then I will continue to refer to what she talked to them about throughout the semester. I will also point them to creative commons when searching for images to use in their projects and assignments.
Part 3, Attribute License
I put my attribute license here under the welcome post on my classroom website.
Part 4, Plagiarism Tracker
I checked out PaperRater and PlagTracker and I liked both of them. PaperRater is neat because you can see which words and phrases you overuse and any spelling and grammar mistakes you might have missed. I’d recommend students use this before turning in papers to me. PlagTracker is nice from a teaching perspective because I can copy students’ work and put it in and see easily if it is plagiarized. (I typically have students submit their work digitally.) And I can point students to the site to let them check their work and make sure they properly cite their information and so they know that I can easily tell if they just copy and paste information from another source.
I like both of these tools to make graphic organizers. Both are really easy to use, and bubbl.us makes a pretty straightforward concept map. I love Popplet, though, because you can add videos and images to explain concepts. I can see using this with students and having them create and share their own Popplets with one another as an early activity in a new unit or when learning a new concept. I can also see using this as a review activity for students before an assessment or as an assessment activity to see what kinds of connections students have made with the material. I checked out MindMeister too and I really like the collaborative feature. I can see using this when having students work together to analyze a text they read.
I made the above images using Tagxedo for my cross country runners before the state meet. I’ve never actually used it for teaching; I always saw it as more of an English Language Arts type tool. However, I can see using this (or Wordle) as students read a section or a chaper out of the textbook. I could have them use it to see the main themes of the section they read and then create a shape that represents the main ideas.
This contains the link to my classroom website. I will likely use QR codes for sharing links and other useful information with my students. I will also put a QR code on my syllabus for students to use so they can easily scan it to get to the class website.
Personal Information on the Web
Because I teach high school students, most of whom are seniors, I think one of the most impactful things I could teach them about digital citizenship is the amount of information they share online. I found the following resources to be really great:
Six Degrees of Information | You’re Not as Private as You Think | Your Digital Dossier
I would likely use these at the beginning of the personal finance unit I do to show students that what they post now can affect their income earning potential in the future. If a future employer sees inappropriate information or photos, that could impact their ability to get a job with a company they want to work for. It could also affect opportunities for scholarships and advancements. Besides education and career opportunities, students can lose personal privacy and even be more prone to identity theft if they over share their lives.
ID Theft Face Off Screenshot
Content: I focus my teaching on main concepts and have our learning objectives for each class period posted at the front of the room. Instead of small details and facts to memorize, students get a big picture idea of how everything works together; I intersperse examples that support the overarching concepts and themes we study. I use numerous materials like presentations, practice problems, small group and individual practice, and video to present ideas to students.
Process: I use many different types of grouping in my teaching, ranging from whole class discussions to small groups to pairs, to individual practice. Rarely do I have a class period where students work independently the entire time. Most of the activities I do involve group discussion and idea sharing.
Products: I assess students frequently throughout each unit using Moodle questions, small white boards and practice questions, open ended responses, class discussion, one on one discussion, and group presentations. Most of the projects I do give students several options to express their understanding; they may have different product options to choose from or different paths to take to create the same end product. The goal with my assessments is to use them as teaching tools so that students have to apply what we’ve been discussing in class to their process of creating their end product. Even my tests have retakes so that students can master the material and learn from their mistakes.
One thing that jumped out at me in the article is using our online textbook to help students who are struggling. They can install Diigo to highlight and annotate sections and make sticky notes to themselves; they can use VozMe to have the text converted to audio. Students could also use graphic organizers to create outlines of the material they read. This would be useful for ALL students, not just struggling learners, as it will help reinforce what they are reading and learning.
A couple of tools that would support UDL in my class that I could use even more are Google Docs and Prezi. They allow for real time collaboration with one another, and Google Docs allows for annotation and commenting. Students can comment on one another’s work and I can comment and offer suggestions too. Using these tools opens the classroom up to be anytime, anywhere. Students can do group work asynchronously and not have to worry about emailing a file back and forth. They can be creative with how they use the tools to express their understanding. And they can share their work together and learn from one another.
This could be useful for struggling readers, English Language Learners, and even students who are really busy and could download the textbook as an MP3 file to listen to while they walk or drive to and from school. For struggling readers and ELL’s, hearing the text as they read will help them learn the sounds of the new vocabulary and glean more meaning as they can connect it with surrounding text and concepts discussed in class. For busy students, audio text helps them multitask and learn as they move from one place to another.
Teacher’s Domain Resources
I really like this site and have used it pretty regularly. It has great resources for US History, Economics, and World History. I found this lesson that I plan on using to explain to students where their tax dollars go. In the lesson, students learn why our government levies taxes, where they money actually goes, and how different income brackets pay different taxes.
In the first part of the lesson, students analyze a sample paycheck stub and discern between gross and net income, as well as learn what the different deductions from their paycheck are for. We then discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each of these tax deductions and students compute what percentage of income is taken out for taxes for the given pay stub they analyze.
In the second part of the lesson students compare the different types of deductions and the impact of saving their money over time in a retirement account like a 401(k), and in the third part of the lesson they discuss where, exactly, they think their tax dollars should go and which programs they should support.
I found this resource that I could use to supplement my lesson on unemployment. While we normally go through the different types of unemployment and label them and discuss the causes of each, this gives students a practical look at how they can best prepare themselves to be employed in the future.
This page has a short explanation of how your level of education affects your employability. It links to an article that gives further explanation and examples of how gender and education are linked to employment rates too.
Skype in the Classroom
My Skype username is colleen.davenport81 and here is evidence of me using Skype to chat with my husband and my sweaty baby on a humid summer’s day. 🙂
I’ve been brainstorming for awhile how I would use Skype in my classroom and I’ve come up with these ideas:
- Contacting a professor at MSU or another university and having him/her explain a tricky economics topic to my classes.
- Each semester I have a banker come speak to my classes about personal, real-life banking, investments, and budgeting. I think using Skype to do this would be great because then they can stay at their offices and get some work done in between classes, plus they don’t have to travel. While they have given out materials to students in the past, I could have them mail materials or drop them off ahead of time (or I could pick them up). I think this saves everyone time and still gives students an interactive opportunity.
- Chatting with students who are absent about what we covered in class, even if I chat with them from home. I’ve had some students miss extended amounts of time due to illnesses and this would be so helpful! Even if students missed just a day of class and wanted to catch up and clarify, this would be helpful.
- Chatting with students and creating an online office hour session (I could create a group in Skype for this) for students to ask questions. This would be really great with a hybrid class that doesn’t meet everyday. I could set up office hours during the time we would normally meet and/or have times in the evening for them to chat.
- Have students work in groups even if someone is absent. They can Skype and discuss what they need to work on.
I’ve also used Google Hangouts (and I’ve even used it as a baby monitor when we forgot our monitor while visiting friends) and I really like how it’s integrated with my Google account so that I don’t have to log in to another tool.
I haven’t really used back channel chats before, but I can see using one while I’m explaining a concept, or even just having one open during most class sessions for students to ask questions of one another. I suppose not every activity we do would require a back channel chat, but it would be nice for students to be able to get ideas from one another.
I found the following budget spreadsheet template and it would be super useful for the personal finance unit I do with my students. Part of the unit includes creating a detailed budget based on the starting salary of the job they hope to get once they graduate college or trade school. I would make some modifications to this template, but I think it would be more useful than having students do this portion in the word document I share with them. The most useful part is that students can enter in their numbers and it gives them totals in the spreadsheet so they don’t have to do it by hand!
Google Docs and Doodle
Here is a presentation I use for my students that I made in Google Docs on Demand Elasticity. I had Dan make some comments in it as well of things I could improve with it.
And here is a Doodle I made with Dan. I’ve used Doodle for several years now and I really like it. It’s such a simple way to see when people are free and to schedule a meeting or plan an event. We use it with friends and with colleagues since it’s such a useful tool!
Student Usage: I use Google Docs quite often with students. I often create spreadsheets for students to post links to share their work and I encourage them to use Google tools to work together on their assignments. For example, when students create their budgets, they work together for one section of it and so I have them use Google docs to share their work and collaborate in real time instead of sharing files back and forth. I also have them create websites together and presentations about econ concepts together.
Trello and Lino
Below is an image of a Trello I made for home/personal use. We have an old house that needs some updating, so I made this to start organizing the projects and to create checklists for them. I can also see using this tool in my classroom to organize the lessons I need to create or update for units of study. (I’d probably give each unit it’s own board with it’s own set of checklists). This tool definitely beats using sticky notes because all the information is in one place instead of on several notes!
While I didn’t create a new board on Lino, I did brainstorm a bunch of things I’m excited to do with it. I’ve used a similar tool in the past called Padlet (it used to be called Wall Wisher) and it’s a fun, easy tool to use. I think Lino might be even easier though! I plan on having students use it to:
- read articles and post their summaries and their responses to questions about those articles. I would put students into groups and each group would respond on their assigned board.
- create boards to present to the class on an assigned topic
- create boards to organize group projects in class and list out what they are each going to contribute and post links and images to share with their group members
- build a wiki-type page that is much more aesthetically pleasing (and easier to use) than an actual wiki
I think I could also use it to post lists of resources for each unit of study as well. I have a class website with that information on it, but maybe I will experiment with creating a Lino page and seeing if students like viewing the information in that format better. I can put the links and images and assignments I use all on a Lino page and link to it from my website so students have everything all on one screen.
How I use my classroom website
I have had a classroom website for several years. It’s an invaluable tool for communicating with students and parents, posting assignments, posting due dates and information about upcoming assessments, and to have a class presence that students can access at any time and any place.
I have recently updated my class website; I originally had it hosted on my own domain, but since I didn’t teach this year and I may not go back next year, I decided not to continue paying for the domain name. So, I migrated everything into WordPress instead (which was easy since I had WordPress installed on my other domain!). When I migrated over, some of the links to the videos I use as well as the links to assignments that I share with students via my dropbox, were disabled. I re-enabled a few of the video links and the first assignment link on this page so you can get an idea of what I share with students.
When students go to my site, they will see the weekly assignments and due dates as well as the learning objectives for each day’s lesson. When they click on a unit page, they will find video resources and links to assignments. If they ever forget what they are supposed to do for the class, it’s all on the website! They can also find links to note-taking tools and reading guides. I rely so heavily on my class website that I can’t imagine teaching without it. It’s where I put ALL of my classroom materials and supporting tools so that students can access the class all of the time.
In addition to the class site, I use Moodle as a place for students to upload assignments and to complete formative and summative assessments. Using Moodle has enabled me to give students almost immediate feedback, and because of that, I have more time to give students to re-take assessments in order to master the material. If you’d like guest access to my Moodle class, let me know and I’d be happy to let you take a look around!